Working as a veterinary assistant for several years and seeing dogs come into the hospital with heat exhaustion and other problems during the summer months taught me a few things.
Summer Dog Walking Tip #1: Know Your Dog’s Limits
Even younger dogs can have trouble keeping up during summer’s scorching temperatures. You shouldn’t expect your dog to be able to walk as far as they would normally be able to during the spring and fall months when temperatures are cooler. Once it starts getting hot outside, monitor your dog closely to see when it starts getting tired. If your dog continually seeks out shade to lay down in or just refuses to go any further, then you will need to adjust the distance of your daily walks. Also consider walking your dog in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
Summer Dog Walking Tip #2: Carry Water
Hot temperatures can cause dehydration in our canine friends quickly so be prepared. Keep a cool bottle of water on hand when out walking your dog during the summer. Offer water to your dog at regular intervals and keep offering it, even if your dog isn’t interested in drinking quite yet. Check around at pet stores for water bottles that have a snap-on water dish for maximum portability.
Summer Dog Walking Tip #3: Research Local Wildlife and Plant Life
During the summer months wildlife can flourish in suburbia, posing a threat to both you and your dog. Research the local wildlife in your area and be on the look-out for foxes and coyotes when walking through open spaces and greenbelt areas. These animals are territorial and may attack unprovoked, carrying a small can of pepper spray as a precaution is recommended. You may want to change your summer dog walking route to only include walking through populated residential areas if you feel there is a high risk of running into an unpleasant furry resident.
Researching local plant life can also help you and your dog avoid getting thorns and stickers in your shoes and paws. If there are any poisonous plants in the area, learn to recognize them by sight so you can keep your dog away from them.
Summer Dog Walking Tip #4: Make Sure Your Dog is up to Date on all Vaccinations
Chances are that you’ll run into a few other pooches when walking your dog during the summer. Making sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations is a smart precautionary move to avoid illness. Other dogs can be carriers of disease even if they don’t appear to be sick.
Follow these tips and have a happy, healthy summer full of dog walking and tail wagging.